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Landscaping

Water Management

Need a good way to control storm water in front of garage and entry doors and in wet landscape areas? Consider Zurn's Z880 Flo-Thru Trench Drain. The 21/2-inch-wide channel comes in five colors; preformed 90- and 45-degree corners, end caps, and two types of outlets are also available. A heel-proof polyethylene grate is standard; stainless-steel, bronze, and aluminum grates are optional. List price starts at about $20 per foot. Zurn, 800/906-5060, www.zurn.com

Post Protection

Embedding a fence or deck post in concrete or the ground is likely to result in a rotted post — but what's the alternative? The Postsaver. This polyethylene boot with an interior coating of bitumen shrinks around the post when heated, providing a barrier against rot and minimizing the leaching of preservatives. Timber treaters typically apply the product, which adds about $3 to the cost of a 4x4. Postsaver USA, 610/681-6451, www.postsaverusa.com

Maintenance-Free

Aside from Tom Sawyer's buddies, most folks don't particularly enjoy painting fences — which means that Eon's introduction of Pro Series Fencing should come as welcome news. The prefinished all-plastic product requires no maintenance beyond the occasional hosing, says the maker. It comes in privacy and lattice-top styles in three colors — cedar, driftwood, and redwood — and costs between $35 and $45 per foot installed. Eon, 866/342-5366, www.eonoutdoor.com

Energy Conservation

Cheaper Hot Water.

The average American household spends about a third of its home-energy dollars on making hot water — but a solar hot-water system can reduce that expenditure by as much as 90 percent. Ready-made systems like the ones sold by Stiebel Eltron simplify installation. The company's SBB300 Plus kit consists of an 80-gallon tank, two solar collectors, and an assembled pump station with circulator, expansion tank, drain valves, pressure gauge, thermometer, air vent, and controller. Collector mounting hardware and collector-to-tank piping are not included, because they vary by application. The package costs $2,660. Stiebel Eltron, 800/582-8423, www.stiebel-eltron-usa.com

Duct Tape for Ducts.

One of the most cost-effective ways to increase a home's comfort and improve its energy efficiency is to effectively seal its ductwork. Most tapes aren't up to the job — with one notable exception, Hardcast's Foil-Grip 1403-181-BFX, which uses a nonhardening butyl formula. At 17 mils thick, it's less messy than duct-sealing mastic and can be applied in temperatures from 35°F to 110°F. I've tried it and can tell you it has a tenacious grip. It comes in 100-foot rolls in 2- and 3-inch widths. Hardcast, 800/527-7092, www.hardcast.com

Handsome Savings.

Most high-efficiency exterior light fixtures look a little institutional, but the sconces in Brownlee's Weathermate Series look pretty good in a residential setting — and they offer significant energy savings compared with incandescent outdoor fixtures. The 7563 is shown; it comes in 14 finishes and accepts 9-watt or 13-watt compact-fluorescent bulbs. Prices start at about $120. Brownlee Lighting, 800/318-6768, www.brownlee.com